Pioneers Head to Nike Soccer Classic This Weekend

Sept. 12, 2007

The Set-Up... The Pioneers travel to New Hampshire this weekend to participate in the 18th annual Nike Fall Soccer Classic. SHU will face Vermont on Friday afternoon at 2:30 pm in the opening game and take on the host Wildcats in the finale of the tournament Sunday at 3:00 pm.

Pioneers Get Two of Three... The Pioneers split a pair of games at the Yale Tournament over the weekend. Friday SHU fell to Dartmouth and then posted a 1-0 victor over host Yale on Sunday. Junior Ricarti Mendes scored the only goal of Sunday's win. Goalie Matt Jones made 8 saves on the week and turned his first shutout of the year Sunday. It was the 11th shutout of the goalie's career. Tuesday night the Pioneers topped Holy Cross, 2-1, as senior Brian Downs scored the game winning goal in the 78th minute. Sophomore Jesper Fredriksson scored the Pioneers' other goal.

SHU in Nike Classic... This is the third straight year that Sacred Heart has taken part in the Nike Soccer Classic, posting a 2-2 record over the last two seasons. In 2005 the Pioneers beat Bowling Green and lost to host Wisconsing-Green Bay. Last season, SHU fell to the Phoenix before beating Georgia State in the second game.

Scouting the Catamounts... Vermont is off to a 1-4 start, their only win coming against San Francisco in their season opener. The Catamounts have only scored three goals in their first five games, each coming from a different player. In goal, Roger Scully has yielded five goals in four games.

Scouting the Wildcats... New Hampshire enters its tournament with a 1-2-1 record following a weekend split at Vermont's tournament last weekend. Sophomore Chris Banks, who was named 2006 America East Striker and Rookie of the Year, will anchor the offensive force of the Wildcats. The loss of twotime America East Goalkeeper of the Year, Brian Levey, has left a large void to fill on coach Thompson's starting lineup. Senior Mike Jenne and sophomore Tunde Ogunbiyi will battle to fill the spot in net.

Trifecta Up Front... The Pioneers chances for another run to the playoffs are bolstered by a strong core of returning players on both sides of the ball. Up front, junior Jason Tessitore returns to lead the attack that he has been the focus of the last two years. Tessitiore was an All-Northeast Conference selection as a freshman. In addition to Tessitore, the Pioneers also welcome back another big name up front in the 6-4, 215 pound Jesper Fredriksson. Fredriksson burst on the scene last year as led the team in scoring with six goals and two assists for 14 points. He already has a three goals this year. The final member of the trio is senior Ricarti Mendes who has a goal and three assists on the year, including the game winner at Yale.

Goalie From Across the Pond... Just as vital to the Pioneer success is their defense, led by sophomore goalkeeper Matthew Jones Jones had an outstanding freshman year, earning second team All-NEC honors as well as a nod to the NSCAA All-New England Men's Soccer Second Team. Although he didn't win any awards, Jones had a solid sophomore year as well. He turned in a 1.43 goals against average with a .726 save percentage. Jones posted seven wins, three of which were shutouts. This year he has a 1.15 goals against average and a shutout to his credit already.

Up Next... The Pioneers continue their road trip through northern New England with a visit to Maine on Friday September 21st. Following that, the Pioneers will be off for two weeks before beginning their Northeast Conference schedule at home against Quinnipiac on October 5th.